Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth mentors changemakers at 41st Climate Reality Leaderships Corps event

“The people of Torres Strait taught me climate change is not something for people in faraway countries or in the distant future to worry about. Climate change is impacting people here in Australia in devastating ways, but this story remains largely unheard. There was a great phase said by one of the speakers – if we save the islands, we save the planet. And it is true – if we use our ambition and intellect to reduce emissions and prevent irreversible damage occurring on the most vulnerable people in the most fragile places – then we also manage to save everyone else and all the other places we love and call home.” Anika Molesworth

 

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Anika Molesworth (right) with Natalie Isaacs founder of 1 Million Women.

Anika Molesworth, already on the forefront of research and action on global climate change, was invited to be a mentor at the 41st Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, held in Brisbane in the first week of June. Here she discovered the devastating ways in which Australia is already affected by climate change, and how people at home can make a positive difference.

Led by former US Vice President Al Gore, the training was a three-day event providing “citizens concerned about the future of our planet with a strong understanding of climate science as well as the critical communications, strategy, and advocacy skills necessary to mobilise communities and catalyse solutions to the climate crisis.”

The Brisbane event attracted 800 participants and, as a mentor, Anika was assigned a table of 12 mentees.

“The energy in the room for hundreds of motivated climate changers was fantastic. With a primary focus on Australia and a regional focus on the Asia-Pacific we learnt about the impacts from summer heatwaves, raging bushfires and the real consequences of climate inaction on livelihoods, human health and natural ecosystems. We also heard from inspiring speakers who are reasons for hope; with a diverse coalition of courageous voices – many from Indigenous and frontline communities – calling for bold and ambitious transitions to a low-carbon future.” she says

Anika’s mentees were Year 11 and 12 secondary students and first year university students who discussed with her the recent student strikes and their disappointment at their school curriculum not educating on topics of great global importance.

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“They taught me you don’t have to have a title or be in a position of power to have influence and be a change-maker. The importance of climate education in schools cannot be overstated. Young people are being recognised for facing up to challenges many find too difficult to engage with. Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders today.”

Anika was also impressed by fellow mentor Natalie Isaacs. By learning how she could be more environmentally responsible in her own household, Natalie set about helping others do the same and in the process built a network of 1 Million Women championing climate action.

“Natalie exemplifies that change starts with you, right where you are now,. Big change is good, but small changes at home and in the workplace are essential. Evaluate your impact as an individual and don’t underestimate the good you can do by changing small things within your power.” say Anika

The highlight of the event for Anika was a contingent of people from the Torres Strait Islands and their stories of how climate change is affecting them here and now.

“Working on matters of climate change for over the past decade I know well the plight of the Pacific Island nations – such as Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands – and what climate change and sea level rise means for these communities and environments, but, I am ashamed I knew so little about what is actually happening right here in Australia. To learn about how climate change is destroying homes, unsettling communities rich in culture, tides washing away sites of great importance – right here in Australia – was truly upsetting and once again highlighted the urgency of the situation.”

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Last week I made 800 new friends at the 41st Climate Reality Leadership Corps. The energy in the room could have powered all of Australia, as we learnt about climate science, catalyzing change in our communities, and pathways to transition to a low-carbon future.

Thanks to everyone who made this event possible and to all the people in this photo who brighten my day and fill me with optimism.

Lessons Learnt Number Four – Using Social Media to Amplify Youth Voices

Social media is all around us. Facebook pops up onto our screens with notifications, we spend hours admiring Instagram images and we check in with the twitter-verse. In the ten years since Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) was born we’ve used social media to share our stories, create conversations and build relationships over countless interactions. In this edition of our Lesson Learnt series we talk to Young Farming Champions Bessie Thomas and Anika Molesworth to find out how social media can be used to amplify youth voices.

Bessie Thomas uses Facebook as her social media platform of choice to share her life on Burragan Station in western NSW. “I like Facebook for its ability to be short or long form,” she says. “I’m primarily a long-form writer and enjoy Facebook’s ability to allow me to explore my thoughts thoroughly, use language as it pleases me (especially for writing with comedic affect) and then add visuals to suit.”

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Just as Bessie enjoys Facebook for its long-form option Anika prefers the brevity of Twitter. “Twitter demands less wordiness and is relatively easy to use,” she says, “and I can use short sentences and one link or a picture.”

Whatever the choice of platform both girls agree it is connecting to your audience that is most important. “Having a public Facebook page is like creating my own little community,” Bessie says of her audience who come to her to experience real-life on a sheep property. “The one aim of my Facebook page has always been to show the human side of farming, show that I/my husband/our family/farmers in general are real people with the same everyday hopes, dreams, problems, desires, challenges, illnesses, brain-farts, morals, ethics and ideals as everyone else. I want to show that we are individuals who care, not just mass production food factories. We are not perfect; we are just as human as everyone else.”

For Anika using social media is about connecting with people who can spread her environmental and climate change messages. “I think Twitter is well used by farmers, researchers and politicians who are connected to the topics I am talking about,” she says, “and I like you can tag anyone, no matter who they are. For example I sometimes engage in a Twitter conversation with policy makers and where else could I do this?”

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Using images and video is a trademark of many social media platforms and both Bessie and Anika use these to great effect. Bessie recently created a video after drought-breaking rain fell at Burragan. The video reached over 20,000 people and was picked up by the Sky News Weather Channel. See footnote

Anika has recently compiled short videos to share on Twitter where she talks about such subjects as renewable energy and climate change. “I am really interested in amplifying the voice of rural Australia, so I asked myself, how can I project my story further and raise awareness of topics I believe are important? I decided to make a series of short videos of me on my family’s farm. Walking around my paddocks I try to give observation and insight on my life in Far West NSW around a central theme of climate change – both its impacts and how it can be addressed.”

Anika admits, that although she is familiar and comfortable with Twitter and has built up an engaged audience and has being identified as the most influential agriculturalist on Twitter , there is always more to learn. Bessie too, finds it a continuous learning process but has these tips for creating successful posts:

  • Create authentic content. Don’t use give-aways or ask for likes and don’t post just for the sake of posting. Amplify your voice in a curated way.
  • Respond to comments and private messages and, in doing so, build trusted relationships.
  • Know your purpose, or aim, and stick to it.
  • Create an emotional connection. My best posts are the honest ones where I am celebrating the highs and also admitting vulnerability. Whinging and complaining posts tend not to do so well.
  • Spell-check! See footnote

Picture You in Agriculture provides all Young Farming Champions with training in social media skills during their immersion workshops and encourages them to share their experiences. Young Farming Champion Alana Black has recently contributed to this by creating a social media strategy document, sharing with YFC how to create engaging content. Just like Bessie and Anika, Alana’s believes it is about connecting with an audience to start a conversation and deliver a positive message about agriculture.

Footnote

That moment when Sky News wants to put your video on national TV and your dad rings to remind you of the ” i” before “e” rule except after “c”

A reminder we should all aim for progress not perfection

Lessons Learnt Number Three – Leadership development is an evolution

 Young People may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future.

Too often their voices aren’t heard.

At Picture You in Agriculture we are providing them with the skills and opportunities to earn a seat at the decision making table.

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Welcome to next chapter in our Lessons Learnt series. At Picture You in Agriculture we are big fans of the concept of Communities of Practice where people who share our vision and are getting great stuff done come together and share their lessons learnt, their successes and work together to amplify each others voices, pool their expertise and make more great stuff happen. This blog post in our Lessons Learnt series shares how we are supporting the leadership development of our Young Farming  Champions using Anika Molesworth as a case study. 

We believe leadership development is an evolution. In the initial workshops of the two-year Young Farming Champion program participants are taught the basic skills – how to tell their story, how to reach audiences, how to interact with media, both print and social. They then use The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas as a safe environment to hone these skills and are encouraged to take them into the wider community.

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Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth is using her voice, the skills she has learnt, the accolades she has garnered and the networks she has created to amplify youth voices and mobilise a movement for #ClimateActionNow .

Pivotal to the success of this leadership journey is a continuum of support, networks and opportunities. In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we look how Anika Molesworth is using her voice, the skills she has learnt, the accolades she has garnered and the networks she has created to amplify youth voices and mobilise a movement for #ClimateActionNow .

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In the last eight weeks Anika has been the keynote speaker at the NSW Geography Teachers Association Conference, Prime Super International Women’s Day lunches and the Rotary District 9520 Conference, talking about her love for her semi-arid property near Broken Hill and the way in which it is being affected by climate change.

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How these conferences came about is a lesson in networking and communication. For Rotary it was availing themselves of local talent at their conference held in Broken Hill. Prime Super invited her to speak after sponsoring the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Award for Agricultural Innovation, which Anika won in 2018.

“While all the award winners are special, sometimes one comes along that stands out,” General Manager Distribution, Prime Super Mark Ashburn says. “We think her work on sustainable agriculture is inspiring and directly contributes to the success of tens of thousands of our members directly involved in agriculture.”

The Geography Teachers conference was an amalgam of many avenues.

“I saw Anika present at the Brave New World Agriculture to 2030 Conference in Sydney in November 2018,” president of the Geography Teachers Association of NSW Lorraine Chaffer says. “Much of what she said had links to topics in the NSW Geography Syllabus. I was impressed by Anika’s positivity about the future and her message about taking action and later found a TED TALK she had made the previous year. The link to geography was very strong so I approached Anika, via Twitter, with a request to present at the GTANSW & ACT Annual Conference in Sydney – using a mix of her Brave New World and TED talks. We were not disappointed.”

Although all of Anika’s recent presentations have followed a similar theme, she finds it important to tailor each talk for the organisation. “To be impactful and give a memorable presentation, it is important to tailor every presentation to the specific audience and have a clear vision on what you want to achieve by giving your talk,” she says.

“The whole process of presenting is adaptive and ever-evolving. I always ask myself, who are my audience? What do they want to hear? What is the message I want to convey? How do I want them to feel and what do I want them to do when they leave my presentation?”

Education needs to go beyond changing what is inside people’s heads. It also needs to facilitate action by providing supportive infrastructure and practical know-how. Anika’s presentations inspire and give people tangible actions they can make as individuals, and this becomes evident at question time. “I often get questions from the audience on big global challenges, which cannot be given quick, easy answers,” Anika says.

“My response is often that I don’t know all the answers and that’s why we need all-hands-on-deck working collectively to find the solutions. Having audience buy-in is very important to me. We are all responsible in trying to find the answers to these big questions, to work together in doing that, and I am pleased if I can help start that conversation.”

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Feedback from Anika’s presentations has been positive and encouraging. Geography teachers described her as engaging, highly inspirational, informative and relevant to the curriculum they are teaching. Prime Super believes her positive outlook for the future will translate to their members having a positive outlook for their financial future.

“We have been thrilled with the event feedback, much of which has included a request to bring Anika back after her trip later this year,” Mark says. “When you get an ‘encore’ and you’re a super fund something has gone right. Anika is a delight to work with and we hope to continue to work with her in the future.”

The trip that Mark alludes to is Anika’s acceptance into the esteemed leadership program Homeward Bound and her travel to Antarctica later in the year. Remuneration from these speaking engagements will go towards Anika’s fundraising for the program, but Anika feels the speaking opportunities go beyond financial contribution.

“They provide me with a platform to share my story and topics I believe are important and they further hone my communication skills, helping me practice and learn so I can do it even better next time.”

This is proof that leadership development is indeed an evolution. Picture You in Agriculture provides transformational leadership training for young people in agriculture between the ages of 20 and 35 and young people in schools between the ages of 10 and 18. Our programs use agriculture as a foundation to inspire students and young agriculturalists to think critically and creatively about real-world issues and work collectively to take action and create real-world impact.

#ClimateActionNow #StrongerTogether #YouthVoices #YouthinAg

 

 

Young Farming Champions Muster July 2018 Week 3

This week’s Young Farming Champions stories from around the country

In the Field

Cotton Young Farming Champion Alexander Stephens takes out this year’s award for the most fields visited having covered over 6000km from Dalby, QLD, to Hay, NSW, and up to Kununurra, WA, to pick the world’s strongest and whitest cotton.

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What a way to see Australia, driving very big toys! We can’t wait to hear more about cotton picking on the Ord River, Alexander.

Wool Young Farming Champion Emma Turner spent last week home on the station collecting data for her honours thesis looking at the differences between 6 monthly and 12 monthly shearing. It involved lots of colour:

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Out of the Field

Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton will be hosting our social media pages this week. Head on over to our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page to follow along and enjoy Jo’s insights from the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium and  Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo 

YFC Anika Molesworth jetted off to Argentina this morning. By invitation from the Argentine Agriculture Minister, Anika will be visiting farms, running workshops with young farmers and presenting on global agricultural challenges and opportunities.

This program coincides with the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, and part of her brief is to collaborate with young South American farmers to prepare a report for the Ministers on the vision of strong and resilient farming sectors, enabling young farmers, and promoting future industry leaders. Anika will be working with Australian Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and visiting farmer groups to discuss collaborative relationships between countries and tackling the industry’s big challenges.

YFC Sam Coggins has just returned from Myanmar where he reviewed three Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) projects looking at pulses, soil mapping and nitrogen fertiliser efficiency. The three projects aim to improve food security and farmer livelihoods. Read more about what ACIAR is doing in Myanmar here

Sam Coggins in Rice Field

Prime Cuts

We are very excited to announce the Rice industry has joined the Art4Agriculture team and our very first Rice Young Farming Champion is Erika Heffer. Welcome Erika and thank you the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia. We’re really looking forward to working together. Read the story here

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Following us on Facebook here and Twitter here

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

Young Farming Champions Backing a Future for Agriculture in the fragile Far West of NSW

 

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Young Farming Champion and Climate Wise Agriculture founder Anika Molesworth

The arid zone of western New South Wales is hot and dry and expected to become hotter and drier with a changing climate. Forward planning and community collaboration is key to ensuring the future of farming in the fragile Far West. But what tools are needed?

This question will be addressed at “Outback to the Future” an upcoming free public seminar to be held at the Fowlers Gap Research Station near Broken Hill on Saturday May 12. Organised jointly by the University of New South Wales and Climate Wise Agriculture, the seminar will discuss the future of land management including new technology available now, future technology, how productivity and resilience can be increased, and how the latest research findings can be applied on the ground.

“Land managers of the Far West are no strangers to adversity – it’s a strikingly beautiful place to live out here, but it comes with its challenges,” Anika Molesworth from Climate Wise Agriculture said. “This seminar is about looking to the future, asking the hard questions, and working together to come up with solutions.”

Commencing at 10.00am the line-up of speakers includes: social researcher Emily Berry; animal ecologist Simon Griffith; wool and sheep specialist Gregory Sawyer; soil scientist Susan Orgill; livestock behaviourist Danila Marini; Judge at the NSW Land and Environment Court Simon Molesworth; climate researcher and veterinarian Greg Curran; General Manager of Research, Development and Innovation from MLA Sean Starling; local grazier Angus Whyte; artist Peter Sharp; and members of the local Landcare Youth Network.

“It’s a hugely exciting day – we’re going to be talking drones to move livestock, replenishing soil carbon to access green markets, industry innovations, art movements, and hear the visions from young locals,” Anika said.

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Livestock behaviourist and Young Farming Champion Dr Danila Marini

One particular presentation that is bringing futuristic-tech to the outback is that by Danila Marini. “Virtual fencing is exciting technology, giving farmers the ability to set up a fence line from their computer’” Danila said. “Close to commercialisation for cattle, virtual fencing uses GPS and a smart algorithm to contain animals within a boundary through the use of an audio cue. This technology has great potential for the sheep industry, especially for vast properties where fencing is either impractical or too costly.”

For further details on the seminar visit the website at https://outbacktothefuture.weebly.com/

#youthvoices18

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

 

Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth honoured on Earth Day

Young Farmer Champion Anika Molesworth has been honoured by Instagram in their Earth Day celebrations as one of  “Instagram’s Most Inspiring Environmentalists”

Observed every year on April 22, Earth Day is a day to celebrate the planet and educate people about the need for environmental protection.

In honor of this eco-friendly holiday, Instagram highlighted individuals who are doing incredible and inspirational things for the Earth every day of the year. From photographers to scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, farmers, writers, small business owners, filmmakers, and chefs, here are just a few of the changemakers in the Passion Passport community who are using their platforms to fight for sustainability.

This is Anika’s profile

ANIKA MOLESWORTH (@ANIKAMOLESWORTH)

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What she does:

Anika is a researcher in international agricultural development who splits her time between her family’s arid outback sheep farm in western New South Wales, crop trials in the Riverina (where she’s completing her Ph.D.), and international fieldwork at the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute. No two of her days are ever the same — one morning she could be flying a drone with a multi-spectral camera over a cotton crop to gauge plant health and the next, she could be wearing a white coat and running laboratory experiments. But regardless of whether she’s wading through muddy fields to collect soil samples or giving TEDx talks, Anika is fighting for sustainable farming, environmental conservation, and climate change action.

What sustainability means to her:

“Sustainability means conserving and enhancing our precious natural resources so that future generations can enjoy a rich and wondrous world just as much as we have. That means looking after the wildlife, vegetation, soils, and water (the building blocks of a healthy environment). But in order to do this, we must realize the fragility of the natural world and our impact upon it. When we care for the land, it supports us.”

As you will see Anika’s joins some of the world’s greatest environmental legends

Read their stories here .

Anika is also a member of our Youth Voices Leadership Team Read about the team here 

#YouthVoices18

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

 

Meet Anika Molesworth the new Lamb Generation

We need ambitious and innovative people who see past the status quo to embrace sustainable farming now and into the future.

I gives me great pleasure to inform you they are out there. Let me introduce you to our guest blogger Anika Molesworth a young lady with not only a great story to share and the way she tells it you feel like you are walking in her shoes

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Intense heat, flies and hours from the closest beach may not be everyone’s idea of a great holiday; however each school break my parents packed the car along with the three children, two dogs and suitcases for all, and headed to Broken Hill. From Melbourne, the drive takes a good 10 hours, factor in some city traffic and breaks for the kids and dogs to stretch their legs, and you’re looking at closer to 13 hours. Believe it or not it takes roughly the same time to travel to Broken Hill from Sydney

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However, the destination is well worth the drive. Broken Hill is centred in a region rich in Aboriginal, mining and pastoral history. The area is closely linked to past explorers such as Captain Charles Sturt, Burke and Wills and William Giles as well as countless Afghan camel trains who opened up Australia’s interior for the benefit of the coming generations.

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In far western New South Wales, the conditions are harsh. The average annual rainfall is a mere 259mm, and during summer the temperature can stay above 40oC for days on end. However, it is the rich desert colours which have inspired artists from around the globe, the endless horizons that call to be explored, and the welcoming community living within an iconic outback setting which makes visitors feel at home.

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Driving north east from Broken Hill, one will come across Rupee and Clevedale Stations, owned and operated by my family. Incorporating hills of the Barrier Ranges, the properties have a combined size of 10,000 acres.

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The red sand country is vegetated with native grasses, wattles and chenopod scrub, crisscrossed with ephemeral creeks and rocky outcrops. Hand excavated mine shafts tell a story of a bygone era when courageous men went beneath the earth to retrieve silver, lead and zinc.

Grazing our property are our 700 head of Dorper sheep from which we breed our lambs for market.

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They are a hardy and quick growing sheep that originated from South Africa. The breed is well adapted to survive the semi-arid environment of far western NSW. They have high fertility rates and strong maternal instincts. Along with their high growth rates and potential for domestic and international meat markets, it is no wonder this breed is one of the fastest growing sheep breeds in Australia. Dorpers have a reputation of quality carcass conformation, good fat distribution and great meat flavour. We run our property with sustainability in mind, and operate using organic principles which reflect our commitment to animal welfare and good land governance. We handle our stock using low-stress techniques and use conservative stocking rates to lower their impact on the natural environment.

Upon finishing secondary school I set my sights on the big open skies of outback Queensland. I jillarooed on two prominent Queensland beef properties, both close to 3 million acres, and quickly learnt that farming on such a large scale was no walk in the park. Here you had to work as a team, yet be accountable for your individual actions. There were countless physical and mental challenges that had to be overcome, yet I’d feel a great sense of achievement at the end of a long day of hard work.

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Education means a lot to me. I strongly believe that one should never stop learning because life never stops teaching. It was this attitude that propelled me through my Bachelor of Science course, specialising in Agribusiness, which I undertook at Charles Sturt University.

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It also encouraged me to re-open the text books and don my thinking cap once again as I embarked on my Masters of Sustainable Agriculture. This tertiary education has been priceless in helping me to understand agriculture as a living and connected system, one that constantly changes and evolves. My particular area of interest is the role which weather plays in influencing farming operations now and into the future. Farmers have always worked around Australia’s dynamic weather patterns, and have learnt to be both adaptive and resilient. However, as the climate becomes increasingly variable, business as usual may no longer be an option, and the sustainability of farming enterprises requires a better understanding of future weather patterns and embracing adaptation and mitigation strategies. At a specific level, I have focused on sheep grazing practices and natural resource management in a climate-constrained world.

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Working with Suncorp Bank as an agribusiness banker has provided me with an excellent opportunity to learn about a wide range of farming industries. I have greatly benefited from their Agribusiness Graduate program, in which I completed three six-month rotations, which saw me working in Tamworth, Orange and Griffith where I am now based. Suncorp has provided me with a supportive environment that actively encourages young professional women to advance within the agribusiness industry.

As you can tell I have a great passion for and strong personal investment in Australia’s sheep meat industry, and hope to inspire others to embrace the diverse and rewarding opportunities that this industry has to offer. We need ambitious and innovative people who see past the status quo to embrace sustainable farming now and into the future.

Lamb Generation

And in the spirit of Australia Day and sharing knowledge, here’s a great lamb recipe that I can’t live without!

Step 1. Preheat a grill pan or barbecue hotplate to medium–high. Rub lamb-leg steaks with olive oil and caramelized onion and season with cracked black pepper.

Step 2. Grill lamb, turning once, for 3–4 minutes either side (for medium), or until lightly charred. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Step 3. Meanwhile prepare your favourite salad; mine would be couscous topped with cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, fetta, a sprinkling of mint and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Enjoy the mouth watering goodness of this Aussie farmer’s favourite meat!

Delish!

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